Did I miss any portion of Outlander that might explain why Jamie Fraser was called McDubh?

Is there any significance to being called "McDubh"?

1 Answer 1


I'd lost track of his myriad names across the years, so I had to look this one up.

From IndieWire - ‘Outlander’: Jamie Fraser’s Many Aliases From The Dunbonnet to Mac Dubh, Explained

Mac Dubh

The show first introduces this name in Season 3, Episode 3, “All Debts Paid” when Jamie is in prison. It’s a name that reveals how well the other prisoners know him and mixes a nickname, lineage, and Gaelic all in one. Jamie’s father’s name was Brian (hence, why Claire names their daughter Brianna), and was known as Black Brian. Therefore, that makes Jamie the son of the Black One, or in Gaelic, Mac Dubh.

  • Not sure if they got this somehow mixed up in the show (or books), or if the article (and seemingly the Internet in general) did, but as far as I can tell, this doesn’t really work. Mac Dubh means ‘black(-haired) son’, not ‘son of the black(-haired) one’; dubh is an adjective describing mac. ‘Son of the Black(-haired) One’ is actually attested as a perfectly common Scottish surname: MacDhuibh (Anglicised McDuff or just Duff), in which Dhuibh is the genitive form of nominalised dubh as expected. Since Jamie is a redhead, ‘Mac Dubh’ really doesn’t make sense at all. Nov 5, 2022 at 9:34
  • Well, not that I know much about Gaelic or the novels at all, but as his father was called Brian Dubh, then 'son of a guy called Dubh' works for me. outlander.fandom.com/wiki/Brian_Fraser
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 5, 2022 at 10:42
  • The trouble is that for that to work, Dubh needs to be in the genitive, and the genitive of Dubh (as a name) is Dhuibh. Mac Dubh doesn’t mean ‘son of [a guy called] Dubh’, it just means ’son Dubh’. It’s the same as how MacDhòmhnaill (MacDonald) uses Dhòmhnaill (genitive of Dòmhnall), MacDhonnchaidh (MacConaughey, Donohue, etc.) uses Dhonnchaidh (genitive of Donnchadh), etc. Nov 5, 2022 at 10:48
  • Yup - as I said, I know nothing of Gaelic… nor enough English grammar to accurately distinguish a nominative from a genitive. It just goes right over my head, & probably 99.9% of the audience too.
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 5, 2022 at 10:55
  • The odd thing is that there’s plenty of actual Gaelic dialogue in the show, and though my Scottish isn’t very good (it’s Irish I’m focused on), what I’ve seen appears genuine enough. I know they had Gaelic consultants on the show as well, which is why I find this so surprising, because in Gaelic, it’s as glaring as changing ‘Black’s daughter’ to ‘black daughter’ in English. Nov 5, 2022 at 11:05

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